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American Indian Pantheism

Discussion in 'Evangelism, Missions & Witnessing' started by baptistteacher, Jan 27, 2005.

  1. baptistteacher

    Site Supporter

    Jan 3, 2003
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    An Indian friend of mine who attends a local "Indian" Baptist church is concerned about many who are turning to the "old ways" of the Indian religion, and trying to mix this with their Christianity.

    He has asked me to help him with info regarding pantheism and American Indians, and I suppose a Christian response that will resonate with the Indian people.

    Ideas??? :confused:
  2. rsr

    rsr <b> 7,000 posts club</b>

    Dec 11, 2001
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    You've bitten off quite a bit there.

    First, customs (at least those having any meaning) were generally confined to a nation or even a band. There is no single generic and authentic Native American religion. (Those that try represent such a religion have created a syncretic religion that does not reflect a wide historical heritage. The Native American Church, for example, has fused elements of Christianity and various Native American ceremonies, most notably the use of peyote, which shows the Southwestern origin of the church's beliefs.)

    What "old ways" are these folks turning to? Are they authentic or a modern syncretic creation that has no more to do with their heritage than snake charming? You have to know the specifics.

    Are these "old ways" religious or cultural? It becomes very difficult to separate the two sometimes (some American Indians claim that they are entirely cultural and were imbued with "religious" meaning by Europeans, who mistook them for the equivalent of Christian ceremonies and customs.)

    I have met many pious Southern Plains Indians who are dedicated Christians — but their religion still maintains a different emphasis than Christians from European traditions; I would be hesitant to say that they have fused religions but rather have accommodated their customs and fit them to the new religion that they wholeheartedly embrace.

    Good luck.
  3. Marcia

    Marcia Active Member

    May 12, 2004
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    There has been a revival of interest in the Native American "original" religious beliefs on the part of some groups. I see your from OK, so I assume you must mean that it's happening there.

    Here are some sites that might be of help or have resources:


    I don't know if you are So. Baptist or not, but the North American Mission Board's Interfaith Witness Dept. has info on Native Americans.
  4. Ben W

    Ben W Active Member
    Site Supporter

    Sep 16, 2002
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